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Need advice on my PR application

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Nicholas01
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Need advice on my PR application

Postby Nicholas01 » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 9:04 am

Need help on my PR application.

I have 3 things in my mind for me to finalize my PR application in order to stand a better chance to get PR. Nowadays amount of PR approvals are getting lesser and lesser.

1) Should I apply for myself(36yrs old) only or should include my family, my wife(32yrs old) and two kids(2 yrs old)?
2) Where and how can i get official translations from Bahasa Malaysia to English for the supporting documents?
3) Testimonial from previous employers, it is mandatory? What are purposes of having this testimonial? Is there any alternative documents that can be used instead? My previous employer was in JB. Worked for 5 yrs.

I am working in Sg, a MNC company for 2 yrs. EP holder. Salary $6k. Everyday travel in and out JB-Singapore. Wife is working in JB. Wife and kids stay at JB. Please advise. Thanks.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby the lynx » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 9:16 am

Nicholas01 wrote:Need help on my PR application.

I have 3 things in my mind for me to finalize my PR application in order to stand a better chance to get PR. Nowadays amount of PR approvals are getting lesser and lesser.

1) Should I apply for myself(36yrs old) only or should include my family, my wife(32yrs old) and two kids(2 yrs old)?
2) Where and how can i get official translations from Bahasa Malaysia to English for the supporting documents?
3) Testimonial from previous employers, it is mandatory? What are purposes of having this testimonial? Is there any alternative documents that can be used instead? My previous employer was in JB. Worked for 5 yrs.

I am working in Sg, a MNC company for 2 yrs. EP holder. Salary $6k. Everyday travel in and out JB-Singapore. Wife is working in JB. Wife and kids stay at JB. Please advise. Thanks.


1) Better include your family. Never attempt to conceal the fact you have a wife and especially kids.

2) No need to translate. If your documents are from Malaysia, they would accept it. Anecdotal evidence has proven it. But if you are paranoid, you can approach any translation company to do it for you.

3) Better if you have, though we have seen cases where it still gets approved without these. But you have to be really special. The purpose is to confirm what you say about you in the forms (especially about your employment history) are true.

And you have a bigger problem to worry other than those three questions you asked. You reside in JB, not Singapore. That is a big minus point against you. How would you convince Singapore government that you have the intention to be "permanent resident" of Singapore if you don't even demonstrate that you're residing there. I don't know if we have examples of Malaysians living in JB who got them nevertheless.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby Nicholas01 » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 10:45 am

the lynx wrote:
1) Better include your family. Never attempt to conceal the fact you have a wife and especially kids.

2) No need to translate. If your documents are from Malaysia, they would accept it. Anecdotal evidence has proven it. But if you are paranoid, you can approach any translation company to do it for you.

3) Better if you have, though we have seen cases where it still gets approved without these. But you have to be really special. The purpose is to confirm what you say about you in the forms (especially about your employment history) are true.

And you have a bigger problem to worry other than those three questions you asked. You reside in JB, not Singapore. That is a big minus point against you. How would you convince Singapore government that you have the intention to be "permanent resident" of Singapore if you don't even demonstrate that you're residing there. I don't know if we have examples of Malaysians living in JB who got them nevertheless.


Hi Lynx,
Really appreciate your advices.

In fact, i would like to buy a HDB rather than rent a house/room in singapore. So my long term plan is to have a PR first, then buy a HDB and move to SG. That's why at this moment I dont reside in SG.
I am not sure is this acceptable & sound logical.

Just to re-visit the item #1. I will not attempt to conceal my family details. I will declare them in my application. But should I apply PR for them together in my application? Applying together will have a better chance?

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 1:47 pm

Doesn't sound logical to me, only greedy. Unless they can give you the perks up front, you aren't willing to invest of yourself.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 1:49 pm

Nicholas01 wrote:In fact, i would like to buy a HDB rather than rent a house/room in singapore. So my long term plan is to have a PR first, then buy a HDB and move to SG. That's why at this moment I dont reside in SG

It's likely that particular recipe isn't part of the Singaporean government's plan. Here are a few quotes pulled from their plan published in 2013 (emphasis mine):

"We may have diverse geographical and ethnic backgrounds, but we are all Singaporean because we share certain key values and aspirations, including meritocracy, a fair and just society, and respect for one another’s culture within a broad common space where all interact and bond....

"Singapore must continue to develop and upgrade to remain a key node in the network of global cities, a vibrant place where jobs and opportunities are created. A dynamic economy will provide us with more resources and room to pursue inclusive growth strategies to benefit all segments of our society....

"We will continue to welcome immigrants who can contribute to Singapore, share our values and integrate into our society....

"Permanent residence is an intermediate status through which foreigners take up citizenship. It is meant for those who have a long-term stake in Singapore and intend to sink roots here."

Your approach so far and future plan don't seem (to me) consistent with their plan, but maybe other people have different views. In the end, though, the only view that matters when it comes to PR decisions is the Singaporean government's.

I would also point out that the government has recently cut back significantly on HDB benefits offered to PRs. In June, 2012, the government introduced rules that only allow PRs to sublet their HDB units if they have never done so before and then only for a one year period with an extension technically possible but subject to the government's absolute discretion. In August, 2013, the government introduced a three year waiting period for new PRs to be eligible to purchase resale HDB units. HDB Housing Loans and CPF Housing Grants are not available to PRs. A reasonable summary is that PRs (after a significant waiting period) only have access to somewhat less expensive resale units (compared to private units) that started with 99 year lease holdings. Of course there will also be a price differential upon future second resale, assuming there's still enough lease holding period left. In other words, HDB resale units are cheaper to buy which is great when you're buying but not great when you're selling -- you still get what you pay for, or possibly less. If you are capital and credit constrained that's a benefit I suppose. You're tying up less capital, and that means less capital risk, other things being equal, plus you might be able to use some tax-advantaged CPF savings to pay for a bigger percentage. That's something, I guess. But renting still works, too, and it has its advantages (e.g. easier adjustment for school non-placements, nearly zero capital risk). You can already live in less expensive HDB housing: you can rent it, and those rental rates seem to correlate fairly well with HDB resale unit prices. But you're not already doing that, so it's a puzzle, really.

I wouldn't rate HDB as a significant benefit for PRs, and my Singaporean friends agree with that general assessment. There's some stamp duty relief on private property purchases which might be more interesting, actually. The biggest PR benefit, by far, is greater immigration certainty in Singapore -- but that's not such a huge benefit if you can stay as long as you want just across the causeway.

I'm going to disagree with SMS a bit. It's OK to be "greedy." Rumor has it some Singaporeans are, a bit. ;) But the government has her needs, too, and she has to win (or at least think she'll win), too. She usually wins.
Last edited by BBCWatcher on Wed, 14 Oct 2015 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby the lynx » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 1:58 pm

Nicholas01 wrote:
the lynx wrote:
1) Better include your family. Never attempt to conceal the fact you have a wife and especially kids.

2) No need to translate. If your documents are from Malaysia, they would accept it. Anecdotal evidence has proven it. But if you are paranoid, you can approach any translation company to do it for you.

3) Better if you have, though we have seen cases where it still gets approved without these. But you have to be really special. The purpose is to confirm what you say about you in the forms (especially about your employment history) are true.

And you have a bigger problem to worry other than those three questions you asked. You reside in JB, not Singapore. That is a big minus point against you. How would you convince Singapore government that you have the intention to be "permanent resident" of Singapore if you don't even demonstrate that you're residing there. I don't know if we have examples of Malaysians living in JB who got them nevertheless.


Hi Lynx,
Really appreciate your advices.

In fact, i would like to buy a HDB rather than rent a house/room in singapore. So my long term plan is to have a PR first, then buy a HDB and move to SG. That's why at this moment I dont reside in SG.
I am not sure is this acceptable & sound logical.

Just to re-visit the item #1. I will not attempt to conceal my family details. I will declare them in my application. But should I apply PR for them together in my application? Applying together will have a better chance?


You wait for 3 years slowly then. HDB can only be bought after 3 years of permanent residency. And only resale unit (not BTO) with resale unit price with COV on top of that. And the money you're spending to buy a HDB? You may as well buy a mansion in Malaysia.

All your talk about saving money by not renting in Singapore? Haha it is an oxymoron. Not gonna happen.

Saving money? Your kids gonna pay higher school fees as PR. Daycare costs as well. Medical costs. I know of Singaporeans who go to hospitals in Malaysia. Even foreigner medical costs in Malaysia are cheaper than their citizen costs in Singapore.

If you're thinking about purely saving money, Singapore will make it hard for you in your current arrangement.

But if you're thinking about quality life, quality education for your kids, safety and security, it doesn't start by "saving money" like how you live. Move over, rent, show Singapore you intend to sink roots.

Don't be offended sweetie, this is what we call hard truths.

Like what BBCWatch alluded, PR is also about financial transaction. Singapore has what you want, you have what they want. But let's talk about transactions once/if ICA gives you PR to start with, if that's the game you're playing.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 2:24 pm

the lynx wrote:You wait for 3 years slowly then. HDB can only be bought after 3 years of permanent residency. And only resale unit (not BTO) with resale unit price with COV on top of that. And the money you're spending to buy a HDB? You may as well buy a mansion in Malaysia.

All true, but let's suppose the idea here is to flip the HDB unit and sell it again after a couple years, hopefully at a big profit. PRs can do that, right, eventually?

Well, in theory, yes, but HDB resale to HDB resale is not at all a reliable way to make money, and it's often a reliable way to lose money. The unit cannot generate significant (or any) income due to subletting restrictions, and even if you can sublet the unit the rental rate will be an HDB rental rate. You have significant regulatory uncertainty since the government can change the rules again at any time. The introduction of the 3 year waiting period along with the big reduction in the number of PR approvals obviously holds down the pool of potential buyers, so that didn't help. COVs can (and did) flip from positive to negative. There's the aforementioned 99 year clock that was already ticking well before you bought the unit. You've even got significant restrictions on what you can do to an HDB property. You cannot expand the "wet areas," for example. So the sort of property flipping things you can ordinarily do in frothy real estate markets, tearing down a wall for example, aren't possible. Then there's currency risk that may be a factor, especially if Singapore isn't in your retirement plans.

If flipping is the idea, let's just say there are better ideas, even in Singapore.

If the goal is to have a weekday place to stay in Singapore more or less as a "bachelor" but keep the family in JB and stay there on the weekends, it's already possible to do that rather inexpensively (by Singapore standards). Moreover, there aren't actually very many small HDB resale units, though that's changing a bit. The private market has better options in that respect.

Anyway, I don't think anybody here knows exactly what ICA will think if you apply for PR without actually being a resident of Singapore, but, to me anyway, it does seem to be inconsistent with the government's stated plan.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby the lynx » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 2:41 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:
the lynx wrote:You wait for 3 years slowly then. HDB can only be bought after 3 years of permanent residency. And only resale unit (not BTO) with resale unit price with COV on top of that. And the money you're spending to buy a HDB? You may as well buy a mansion in Malaysia.

All true, but let's suppose the idea here is to flip the HDB unit and sell it again after a couple years, hopefully at a big profit. PRs can do that, right, eventually?

Well, in theory, yes, but HDB resale to HDB resale is not at all a reliable way to make money, and it's often a reliable way to lose money. The unit cannot generate significant (or any) income due to subletting restrictions, and even if you can sublet the unit the rental rate will be an HDB rental rate. You have significant regulatory uncertainty since the government can change the rules again at any time. The introduction of the 3 year waiting period along with the big reduction in the number of PR approvals obviously holds down the pool of potential buyers, so that didn't help. COVs can (and did) flip from positive to negative. There's the aforementioned 99 year clock that was already ticking well before you bought the unit. You've even got significant restrictions on what you can do to an HDB property. You cannot expand the "wet areas," for example. So the sort of property flipping things you can ordinarily do in frothy real estate markets, tearing down a wall for example, aren't possible. Then there's currency risk that may be a factor, especially if Singapore isn't in your retirement plans.

If flipping is the idea, let's just say there are better ideas, even in Singapore.

If the goal is to have a weekday place to stay in Singapore more or less as a "bachelor" but keep the family in JB and stay there on the weekends, it's already possible to do that rather inexpensively (by Singapore standards). Moreover, there aren't actually very many small HDB resale units, though that's changing a bit. The private market has better options in that respect.

Anyway, I don't think anybody here knows exactly what ICA will think if you apply for PR without actually being a resident of Singapore, but, to me anyway, it does seem to be inconsistent with the government's stated plan.


I don't think OP has the intention to flip for money (although I wouldn't discount that). Based on his stated reasons, I don't think he would even want to buy a private condo because it would be a larger jump in expenditure from his Malaysian house (not ignoring the fact that, as a PR, he doesn't have to wait 3 years for private condo AND he doesn't have to pay ABSD to purchase that).

I think flipping of HDB can only happen after PR occupy/own that HDB for x number of years. I will check for the figures if I have the time.

Definitely not the intention of OP.

Going to your "bachelor pad" idea, it sounds great especially if he just wants a Singaporean address or a weekday accommodation - and rent just a cheap common room on top of that. But as a family, does he need to throw that money away? That SGD700 per month excluding utilities, in conversion, could be MYR2100 per month! At the current currency state, no one in the right mind in Malaysia would want to do that. If anything, even Singaporea citizens are residing in JB - let alone Malaysian SPRs who decided to move to JB to capitalise on that. I have seen some families doing that. But they are not allowed to drive own Malaysian-registered vehicles through. So that leaves SCs and SPRs to drive Singapore-registered vehicles. Think about the money one could have saved on crazy COE, insurance, road tax, ERP and petrol! So if OP drives his Malaysia-registered car to Singapore for work, and would like to keep that, he can't apply for PR.

And I'm just going for the premise that OP wants to save money for this discussion.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 3:39 pm

Good points, particularly the point about PR status changing the private automobile expense equation tremendously if that's a consideration.

PR status also means forced savings of a particular sort and magnitude (CPF deductions), so cash flow drops in exchange for the promise of a future payout in future Singapore dollars. (And note that residents of Malaysia cannot prematurely withdraw CPF monies even if they terminate PR status.) Is that good? In net present value terms, yes, I'd say so (and most people agree with me), but that's not the same thing as living as inexpensively as possible today. Today's cash flow would drop, clearly.

PR status also means sons will have their compulsory military service to do.

Nicholas01, you might have the best arrangement possible right now with your current status, and a lot of people would envy you. I assume you and your family can stay as long as you want across the causeway (citizens?), and you can opportunistically work as a foreigner in Singapore as long as employers demand your services and can obtain/renew your work permits. There is no end in sight to foreign employment in Singapore -- Singapore's demographics won't allow any other outcome -- so with the usual assumptions about having and maintaining skills that are in demand I don't see any unique challenges to working as long as you want on work permits/employment passes. Also, if there's a better offer in JB, you're free to take it (I presume), and you wouldn't have to worry about preserving PR re-entry permit privileges. As the exchange rate varies you can vary your employment decisions, for example. Meanwhile, you enjoy secure immigration/residence status in Malaysia (I presume) and much lower living expenses and/or a more lavish lifestyle and/or greater personal savings. You've got the same weather and the same cuisine, but you've got more golf and less smoke from Indonesian plantation fires. Yes, the daily commute into Singapore isn't terribly fun, but that problem is already fixable for a price. PR doesn't do much at all to help lower that price and could even hurt, e.g. private automobile. As The Lynx pointed out, instead of waiting ~4 years to buy an HDB resale unit even if PR is approved you could (if you're not already) spend much less money to buy a private automobile in Malaysia and follow Singapore's strict rules (and a few expenses) for commuting via private car if that'd help ease your daily commute and maintain all the rest of your family's lifestyle. Moreover, in the coming years it wouldn't surprise me to see direct MRT service open between JB and Woodlands -- I do think that'll finally happen, and not all that long from now.

My hunch is the Singaporean government knows all that and would consider a PR application from a non-resident in that light, but who knows.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby the lynx » Wed, 14 Oct 2015 3:51 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:but you've got more golf and less smoke from Indonesian plantation fires.


LOL they do have the same problem. Singapore and Malaysia plays tag team game of "I hit above 200 today, you hit 200 tomorrow, vice versa". It is only the matter of wind direction. Up the angle by few degrees, and you'll have poor folks from KL choking and wheezing. Down the angle by few degrees, we get the same.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby Nicholas01 » Thu, 15 Oct 2015 9:14 am

the lynx wrote:Like what BBCWatch alluded, PR is also about financial transaction. Singapore has what you want, you have what they want. But let's talk about transactions once/if ICA gives you PR to start with, if that's the game you're playing.


Yuap, quote above deserve as the best quote of the day.
Thanks Sundaymorningstaples, Lynx and BBCwatcher for all the responses & inputs ! :)

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby sgstrait » Fri, 23 Oct 2015 7:56 am

As an EP holder, you already have the right to reside in Singapore. You have chosen not to. So there is no Singapore residency of yours to make permanent.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby Sp1d3rMan » Fri, 23 Oct 2015 11:22 am

Stay in JB definately a minus point in your application. Btw, just sharing, my brother in law & 2 daughter applied for Citizenship but kena rejected few months back. The only reason we can think about is, they not staying in Singapore most of the time.

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Re: Need advice on my PR application

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 23 Oct 2015 12:03 pm

ICA is the government agency accepting and processing PR applications (and PR re-entry permits). Fortuitously, ICA is also the government agency keeping records of border crossings in/out of Singapore. One could reasonably assume ICA at least takes a look at their own border crossing database. There's considerable evidence in the PR application itself that ICA looks at their own database.

ICA knows, with near 100% confidence, how often and for how long you have been physically present in Singapore. Whether your pattern of physical presence in Singapore results in a particular PR decision is a separate question, but one has to assume ICA has more than academic interest in these matters.

Like practically everything else associated with PR applications, ICA won't tell you exactly what their current criteria are for physical presence in Singapore, how they weigh those criteria against other factors, or even if they have such criteria. Otherwise, if ICA did, many applicants would artificially adjust their movements in order to satisfy the minimum criteria.


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